At the beginning of this month (July 2008), Charles Phillips and Thomas Kurian of Oracle gave a very detailed briefing to users and analysts over what was happening to various products in the BEA portfolio with the acquisition by Oracle. Oracle stated that the rationale behind the acquisition was firstly to do with the complimentary nature of the BEA portfolio with that of Oracle, which would, and has, resulted in Oracle having the best-of-breed products in certain categories. Other reasons given included:
- Expands middleware partner and channel ecosystem
- Grows market, direct sales channels customers in middleware sector
- Expands middleware expertise with innovative domain experts
- Strengthens presence in certain markets, specific geographies (example quoted was China ) and specific industries (example given was Telecommunications).
Direct Sales & Distribution Strategy
Oracle announced that 100% of BEA sales reps and sales consultants were to join Oracle. Incremented by the Enterprise 2.0/ECM sales force, the structure of the Oracle specialised teams were to continue.
Oracle & BEA Combined Product Strategy
Oracle stated this was all about "Strategic Clarity". They were looking to produce a well-defined and clearly communicated and well integrated strategy for their customers and partners. There were no fundamental changes in strategic principles that Oracle had stated before. This would mean that investment from both BEA and Oracle customers and partners would be protected. Oracle committed that all "BEA Products continue under existing BEA support lifetimes" and lifetimes support would not be changed. An interesting turn of phrase, which I take to mean that Oracle will support the BEA products in the same way as BEA had announced before the merger. Another key brick in the combined product strategy was that there would no forced migration either from Oracle to BEA or BEA to Oracle. The strategy unified the best components from each portfolio and involved a "pragmatic integration of appropriate Oracle & BEA products". One clear message that Oracle wanted to get across was that they would accelerate the integration of the products and the delivery of a modular but integrated middleware suite.
In the following sections I have listed the key points from the Oracle briefing that cover the areas I am interested in; RFID, Process Management and Integration.
Application servers are the underlying engine used for integration and BPMS products.
- BEA WebLogic Server has been adopted as the primary application server in Oracle's Fusion middleware portfolio
- BEA Tuxedo: Oracle will expand investments in Tuxedo; this will include integration with RAC, OCFS, Coherence for XTP Infrastructure
- BEA JRockit: Oracle will continue but will also support other JVMS. The product will be optimised for predictable, low latency via deterministic GC. JRockit will be optimised to run directly on virtualisation with no OS
- BEA WebLogic Real Time: Oracle will certify and integrate Coherence with WebLogic Real Time.
- BEA Liquid VM: Oracle will certify Liquid VM with Oracle VM.
In the area of ESB, Oracle are to create a new product, called Oracle Service Bus, that is based on the key features of Oracle ESB (such as domain value map support, virtualisation, hot pluggability) and the key features of Aqualogic Service Bus (Xquery Processing, service on-ramp) on top of a common services infrastructure. In addition, there will be protection of customer investment in Oracle ESB and in BEA Aqualogic with a fully automated upgrade path to Oracle Service Bus when available as part of Oracle Fusion middleware 11g.
- Oracle Data Integrator: remains the ETL product offering.
- Oracle & BEA Adapters: the arrangement with iWay for adapters for BEA and Oracle products remain unchanged. There are also Oracle's native adapters for DBMS, JMS, E-Business Suite made available for BEA products.
- Oracle BPEL Process Manager and Aqualogic BPM are going to be used to create a new common runtime (Oracle BPM) for Service Orchestration, Process Management and Human Workflow. Upgrades from Oracle BPEL Process Manager and Aqualogic BPM to Oracle BPM 11g will be fully automated. At present, Oracle BPEL Process Manager is the runtime for Oracle's Packaged Composite Applications AIA, and will be upgraded to Oracle BPM once available in Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g. Oracle BPM will as also be the orchestration and process runtime for Fusion Applications.
- Oracle Business Rules: is the strategic Business Rules Engine to define and customise business policies.
- Oracle B2B Engine: is the B2B engine for trading partner management. BEA's SWIFT Solution will be integrated with Oracle B2B Engine.
BEA WebLogic Integration will have some incremental enhancements with further integration with Oracle SOA Suite.
BEA RFID Server, which BEA had placed in maintenance mode prior to Oracle M&A, will continue in maintenance with no reduction in support timeframes.
The OEM relationship with Cyclone Commerce to resell of Cyclone B2B Activator is discontinued.
Oracle SOA Suite becomes an option of Oracle WebLogic Suite and has a new packaging with BEA's and Oracle's products. . Oracle SOA Suite It now consists of the following products:
- Oracle BPEL Process Manager
- Oracle Service Bus (ALSB and Oracle Service Bus)
- Oracle Web Services Manager
- Oracle Business Activity Monitoring
- Oracle Adapters (Technology) - File, DBMS, HTTP, JMS, ...
- Oracle B2B engine
- Oracle Business Rules
- Oracle Complex Event Processing (only in 11g based on the combination of Oracle's CQL-based event engine and WebLogic Event Server)
- Oracle Business Activity Monitoring (Oracle BAM)
There is also a version of the Oracle SOA Suite for Non Oracle Middleware, as well as standalone SKU's for BPEL Process Manager, Oracle Service Bus, Oracle Web Services Manager and Oracle WebLogic Integration.
Business process management
This product group consists of the following products:
- Oracle BPA Designer, to provide support for structured business process analysis and design that is targeted for use by Six Sigma/Lean experts
- BEA AquaLogic BPM: this is the lightweight BPMN 2.0 Process Designer for Business Users. It will be integrated with BPEL Meta Model for Round Trip design. Process documentation will be available in Oracle BPA Designer and BEA Aqualogic BPM.
- Oracle BPEL Process Manager: this is the process engine for System, Document, Human, Analytic BPM.
BEA Aqualogic BPM and Oracle BPEL Process Manager are going to converge on a single engine that executes both BPMN 2.0 and BPEL with unified auditing, management. There will be upgrade tools for both Oracle BPEL Process Manager and BEA AquaLogic BPM customers. Oracle BPEL Process Manager and Oracle BI will be integrated for Analytic Decisions in BPM
- Oracle Business Rules: this is the Rules Engine for the environment.
- Oracle Business Activity Monitoring: this is the real time dashboard to monitor business process.
- Oracle WebCenter Suite (restricted license): This is the environment to create user interfaces for composite applications. The current facilities are already used in Oracle Applications AIA.
- Oracle Imaging & Process Management: this provides distributed Document Capture and Scanning. Oracle ECM is used for document Indexing, search, archiving and retention and integrates with Oracle BPEL Process Manager for document workflow. There is packaged integrations with Oracle Applications, such as Invoicing.
There is a new package called Oracle Business Process Management Suite which is an option of WebLogic Suite. This suite includes a restricted use of Oracle WebCenter Suite (to create process portal). This packaging includes the following products:
- Oracle BPM Studio - this will include AquaLogic BPM Studio and Oracle BPEL Process Designer
- Oracle BPEL Process Manager
- Aqualogic BPM Server
- Oracle Business Rules
- Oracle Business Activity Monitoring
In line with Oracle's hot pluggable strategy, there is also Oracle BPM Suite for non Oracle middleware. Oracle BPM Suite integrates with Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite is priced primarily by business process designers and analysts. It is kept as a separate item on the price list due to the OEM agreement with IDS Scheer.
Event driven architecture
The strategy is to converge the offerings and R&D from both companies into a single offering. Thus the product portfolio here is:
- BEA JRockit & Real Time: this will become the JVM for Low Latency Event Driven Computation.
- BEA WebLogic Event Server: this will become the lightweight OSGI Event Collection and Execution Container.
- Oracle CEP Engine: this will be CQL-based Event/Stream Computation Engine. Oracle CEP Engine and BEA WebLogic Event Server will converge into a new combined CEP offering in Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, Oracle CEP.
- Oracle Coherence: this is the solution for In-Memory Data Grid to provided distributed event processing support.
- Oracle Business Rules: this is the business editor to express rules and policies on business events.
- Oracle + BEA Event Adapters:
Existing Oracle and BEA price lists are unchanged. For existing customers licensing more CPUs or named users this was available currently. There is a new combined price list, which is based on the products categories discussed in the announcement. The standardised global pricing model will be based on the current Oracle model, and there would a "significantly simplified number of SKUs", thus resulting in less complexity. For current BEA customers, there was reason for cheering with the announcement of no price increases planned for them. Oracle did state that their own support pricing was significantly lower than BEA's. Oracle informed Bloor that their support was based on 22% of net price, not list price as used to be the case with BEA.
It was always going to be interesting to see how the two product lines from Oracle and BEA would be merged. This strategy takes the best from both portfolios and comes out with a stronger set. The recognition of BEA WebLogic Application Server being the strategic web server is good and will certainly strengthen Oracle's hand, not only in the infrastructure market but also later in its application space. The BPMS announcements will need a little time to settle down before it is completely clear how this will work, but on first view they look good.
On the RFID front, it is interesting to note that nothing was said about Oracle's Edge Server product only about BEA's RFID server (the original Connecterra product). Oracle, when asked to comment, said "In the area of RFID the strategy is to take advantage of a solution offered by Oracle Consulting Services leveraging the product assets that were part of the Oracle and BEA RFID Servers to migrate their implementations forward with a services offering. Oracle also recommends partner solutions to customers as well."
From an existing user point of view this strategy does much to take away the fears that might have existed as to what would happen. From the Bloor view point in the areas of BPMS, RFID, Integration and Complex Event Processing, this strategy gets the thumbs up. Now we look for the implementation.